Allan Nairn
American journalist
Allan Nairn (born 1956) is an American investigative journalist. He was imprisoned by Indonesian military forces under United States-backed strongman Suharto while reporting in East Timor. His writings have focused on U.S. foreign policy in such countries as Haiti, Guatemala, Indonesia, and East Timor.
Allen Nairn
For years, I’ve been documenting how many of the senior Democrats are complicit in war crimes, how they belong in prison. But we are now in an emergency situation in which there is a huge, fundamental difference between the Democrats and the Republicans at this moment. The Republicans would abolish democracy...They have to rig the system so they can stay in power, as their minority of votes diminishes over time....
And there are many good Democratic candidates in this election, people who, in one way or another, will represent a breakthrough for social justice, who all have essentially pledged to support Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, Medicaid, when the Republicans would abolish it. But also, many of these, or a substantial number of these, Democrats are arguably war criminals — not as big as the war criminals on the Republican side, but still war criminals. And they belong in prison.
Trump needs a new war. He needs his own war and he hasn’t started one yet... The institutions, the Pentagon, state and the CIA would probably have second thoughts because first, it wouldn’t be clear whether they could get it over with quickly and second, it’s not even clear that they would win... they would encounter some serious resistance within Venezuela....It’s kind of remarkable that some people maintain the pretense that the U.S. cares at all about elections anywhere. This is just another illustration of that.
“Oh no, the system is not rigged! The system is not corrupt!” Those Wall Street contributions I take don’t affect my decisions. She [Hillary Clinton] said that first to Bernie, then to Trump. She said: “In fact, Obama took more Wall Street contributions than I did.” People heard that and said, “Come on!” They hear Trump say, “Look, it’s crooked, I’m a crook, I’m going to be your crook." it sounds a little more plausible...
We are facing such a crisis in this country at this moment that you have to use your head. You have to be tactical. You have to, at this moment, vote in the warmongers who will preserve democracy to block the warmongers who would abolish it — and then, the day after the election, go back to the deeper work of creating real, better, more constructive political alternatives and also helping the base of the Democratic Party take back the party from the consultants, from the rich donors.
Quotes
(most recent first)
Have to be even-handed. If we look at a case like this I think we have to talk–start talking about putting Guatemalan and U.S. officials on trial. I think someone like Mr. Abrams would be a fit subject for such a Nuremberg-style inquiry. But I agree with Mr. Abrams that Democrats would have to be in the dock with him.
Quoted
Elliott Abrams: The War Criminal Running US Policy in Venezuela, The Real News, (11 February 2019) Note: Quotation is from Nairn's appearance on the Charlie Rose TV show with Elliott Abrams in March 1995.
In a brazen application of Trump's doctrine "to the victor belong the spoils," Bolton is targeting PDVSA, the state oil company. It was created 21 years before the Chavez presidency. Now Bolton and US oil cos want to take it, for themselves. #Venezuela
Twitter (30 January 2019)
The US should drop sanctions to ease the hunger it & Maduro & #Venezuela's rich jointly caused, as well as cancelling covert ops & invasion preparations, and should also drop the pretense it could ever serve as neutral mediator for a political settlement.
Twitter (30 January 2019)
Many poor people have indeed now joined the rich-led movement v Maduro, but the US won't tolerate a process that leads to a new independent, pro-poor government; see US stance re #Honduras, supporting coup ('09), then electoral fraud ('17).
Twitter (30 January 2019)
One of the big criticisms from the Trump types was that during the Obama administration to stage an operation, you had to go through lawyers at the National Security Council who had to sign off... certain operations... could be vetoed if they exceeded the permitted number of civilian casualties... The Bush Jr. White House also did that... When Trump came in, he said screw that, throw all the rules out the window. When you go in, you the Pentagon and CIA people on the ground, you have the authority to kill as many people as you feel you need to, as many people as you want. Go ahead, but get it over with quickly... That’s the Trumper approach. The other establishment approach is to accept some restraints... that have been imposed by... Congress over the years, still be willing to kill tons of civilians. You know, Abrams backed a genocide in Guatemala for God’s sake.
Donald Trump And The Yankee Plot to Overthrow The Venezuelan Government,Jeremy Scahill the Intercept (30 January 2019)
Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves but even more importantly, Trump needs a new war. He needs his own war and he hasn’t started one yet. And that fits with his method of creating new spectacles. The institutions, the Pentagon, state and the CIA would probably have second thoughts because first, it wouldn’t be clear whether they could get it over with quickly and second, it’s not even clear that they would win. Because they would encounter some serious resistance within Venezuela. So, it seems what they’re trying to do now is to try to get the army to defect, get them to stage a coup and bring down Maduro. It’s kind of remarkable that some people maintain the pretense that the U.S. cares at all about elections anywhere. This is just another illustration of that.
Donald Trump And The Yankee Plot to Overthrow The Venezuelan Government,Jeremy Scahill the Intercept (30 January 2019)
It sounds like they’re putting a priority on helping the American oil companies. Even more significant was the statement by Bolton. Essentially, when the U.S. takes over Venezuela, they want to have the U.S. companies do the actual oil production in place of the state oil company. Now, that’s especially remarkable because it means rolling back an arrangement that predates Hugo Chavez, that predates the Bolivarian movement....The oil production in Venezuela was nationalized before Chavez came to power so that old U.S.-backed state capitalism is now ruled inadmissible by John Bolton and the U.S. and they’re going to, proposing to go in and just as Trump put it, take the oil and give it to U.S. companies. But in today’s world, it’s no longer necessary for economic purposes, for overall economic purposes to actually control natural resources that are sold in an open market like oil. The only real gain is a political one where you have control over that oil and you can if you want withhold it from certain countries and you can manipulate it in various ways for political purposes....
Donald Trump And The Yankee Plot to Overthrow The Venezuelan Government,Jeremy Scahill the Intercept (30 January 2019)
In addition to allowing the U.S. to rewrite the notion of political sovereignty assuming for itself the right to really name anyone president of any country. I mean, if they follow that principle, what’s to stop naming any individual in any country, anywhere in the world as the recognized president. They’re also messing with the very notion of property. This is the kind of thing that maybe should give other countries and even foreign capitalists and rich people some pause when placing their holdings within the borders or within the control of the U.S. government because the principle they seem to be establishing is if the U.S. turns against you politically, they could just take your property straight up. It should give pause to lots of people who are using U.S. banks now.
Donald Trump And The Yankee Plot to Overthrow The Venezuelan Government,Jeremy Scahill the Intercept (30 January 2019)
For years, I’ve been documenting how many of the senior Democrats are complicit in war crimes, how they belong in prison. But we are now in an emergency situation in which there is a huge, fundamental difference between the Democrats and the Republicans at this moment. The Republicans would abolish democracy. They’re looking — because that’s the only way they can perpetuate their power. They have a minority of the votes. They have to rig the system so they can stay in power, as their minority of votes diminishes over time.... And there are many good Democratic candidates in this election, people who, in one way or another, will represent a breakthrough for social justice, who all have essentially pledged to support Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, Medicaid, when the Republicans would abolish it. But also, many of these, or a substantial number of these, Democrats are arguably war criminals — not as big as the war criminals on the Republican side, but still war criminals. And they belong in prison.
The US Is Facing Incipient Domestic Fascism, But It Can Be Stopped, Amy Goodman & Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now! (1 November 2018)
We are facing such a crisis in this country at this moment that you have to use your head. You have to be tactical. You have to, at this moment, vote in the warmongers who will preserve democracy to block the warmongers who would abolish it — and then, the day after the election, go back to the deeper work of creating real, better, more constructive political alternatives and also helping the base of the Democratic Party take back the party from the consultants, from the rich donors.
The US Is Facing Incipient Domestic Fascism, But It Can Be Stopped, Amy Goodman & Nermeen Shaikh, Democracy Now! (1 November 2018)
Trump essentially came out and said: Look, the system is totally corrupt, I’m a crook, I’ve been part of this rigged system for years, I’ve been paying off the politicians, now I’m going to be your crook. I’m going to be fighting on your side. People heard that, and it sounded a lot more credible to many people than Hillary saying: “Oh no, the system is not rigged! The system is not corrupt!” Those Wall Street contributions I take don’t affect my decisions. She said that first to Bernie, then to Trump. She said: “In fact, Obama took more Wall Street contributions than I did.” People heard that and say, “Come on!” They hear Trump say, “Look, it’s crooked, I’m a crook, I’m going to be your crook — it sounds a little more plausible.” And, in one sense, Trump is following through. He’s indeed demonstrating again that he’s a crook. But, of course, he’s not doing it on behalf of the working people who he claimed to be campaigning for. However, that fact has only gotten through to a limited extent.
Allan Nairn on How Trump Dragged a Rightist Revolution To Power, Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept (28 May 2018)
Because, well, partly those who set the rhythm of repetition, the rhythm of what facts get repeated day to day, in the highest profile media outlets, and the rhythm of repetition is basically everything in politics. Because under the American system, there’s no centralized state censorship, unlike the old Soviet system. So, almost everything, almost every atrocity committed in the U.S. system is on the public record somewhere, it’s somewhere in a library, it’s somewhere in a posting on the Internet, somebody has done a good investigative piece on it. It’s all out there somewhere .But unless it’s repeated, hammered away, day after day, on the big media outlets, it may be on the public record but it’s not in the public consciousness. And that’s all that matters in politics: What is in the public consciousness? And those that set the rhythm of repetition that determine the public consciousness — in this case, the media outlets like MSNBC and CNN, which today play an absolutely central role... have seized on this Russia scandal as their theme... they devote vast portions of their airtime to speculation about this Russiagate scandal, to the exclusion of hammering away on all these other themes about the outright decimation and crushing and theft of the American working class.... about what he’s doing to the health of Americans, to the environment, to the basic rights of Americans.
Allan Nairn on How Trump Dragged a Rightist Revolution To Power, Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept (28 May 2018)
The Guatemalan military...during the early ’80s when the Reagan administration was backing them enthusiastically... would go into villages in the Mayan highlands in the northwest. ... I was there, I spoke to the soldiers as they were doing it, I spoke to survivors … they would decapitate people. They would crucify people. They would use the tactics that ISIS today puts on video that are now shocking the world.... The powers have always been willing to use these tactics...And for centuries they were proud of it. All you have to do is look at the holy texts of the major religions—the Bible, the Quran, the Torah. They're full of one massacre after another. People forget....For years and years the powers were proud of these tactics. They advertised it.... As recently as the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt, U.S. presidents were still boasting about it... Go back and read [Roosevelt’s] writings. He's repeatedly … talking about the necessity to shed blood, the necessity to kill...
The American Empire: Murder Inc., Chris Hedges, TruthDig (4 January 2016)
You can't do that in today's U.S. You can't do that really in any major country today. The only partial exception to that at the level of rhetoric is Israel. Israeli generals and politicians still talk openly about the need to shed Palestinian blood. But they're really the only ones. Everywhere else—Europe, Russia, China, the U.S.—they have to hide their [activities].
The American Empire: Murder Inc., Chris Hedges, TruthDig (4 January 2016)

For Washington, the Iraqi deaths did not count. George Bush viewed them only as a public-relations problem, which he deemed surmountable. Washington could have achieved its official aim of getting Iraq out of Kuwait through negotiations, and it could have stopped the war after the Iraqis retreated. But Washington insisted on full military assault and triumph to achieve its unofficial goals, primarily the reassertion of U.S. military dominance... For this, the United States was willing to kill an unlimited number of Iraqis... For Washington, the Iraqi deaths did not count. George Bush viewed them only as a public-relations problem, which he deemed surmountable... Bush’s assault on Iraq furthered... showed that it was possible to stage gigantic conventional attacks without shedding much American blood by substituting airborne munitions for U.S. combat troops.
When Casualties Don’t Count (May 1991) quoted in "George H.W. Bush: Lying in State, by Norman Stockwell, The Progressive (5 December 2018)
Allan Nairn: Trump’s Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams Is a War Criminal Who Has Abetted Genocide, Democracy Now (30 January 2019)

We have to talk–start talking about putting Guatemalan and U.S. officials on trial... Mr. Abrams would be a fit subject for such a Nuremberg-style inquiry... Democrats would have to be in the dock with him.
Quotes about
We look at Abrams’s track record with prize-winning investigative journalist Allan Nairn, who has closely tracked Abrams for over three decades. Nairn is two-time winner of the George Polk Award and a recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award.
Amy Goodman in Allan Nairn: Trump’s Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams Is a War Criminal Who Has Abetted GenocideDemocracy Now (30 January 2019)
I’m joined by the renowned investigative journalist Allan Nairn. As a reporter, he has played a significant role in exposing United States involvement and sponsorship of brutal regimes and security forces around the globe. He survived the Dili massacre in East Timor in the early 1990s. He exposed the CIA’s financing of right-wing death squads in Haiti and other countries as well as the CIA’s support for brutal military dictators in places like Guatemala and El Salvador. Allan Nairn also debated Trump’s Venezuela point man Elliott Abrams on national television in the 1990s and in that debate he called for Abrams to stand trial for war crimes.
Jeremy Scahill in Donald Trump And The Yankee Plot to Overthrow The Venezuelan Government,The Intercept (30 January 2019)
See also
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Last edited on 13 May 2019, at 19:51
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